Tag Archives: agency

this blog collective has consistently pursued the open question of how we might think of a post-nihilist praxis, a problem amenable to torsions activating new kinds of “resolutions” to such an open problem.

with that, i want to depart from an idea popularized by the anti-psychiatry movement from the 60s and 70s–“ontological precarity” (definition coming soon, below) is imbricated in a social field, a general economy of flows, political events, economic surges and downturns, and ecological stirrings.  a paranoiac’s relation to the world, just as a psychotic’s or a neurotic’s, they might argue, includes communication with elements that go far beyond the borders of one’s skin.  feelings of persecution, mania, depression are not dependent upon a hermetically sealed “meatbag,” but rather, involve the human being’s status as an “open system” in continuous communication and exchange with the world.  breathe-in air, perceive objects enmeshed with social meaning (or deviating from it, interestingly), letting out words and always indicating one’s posture facing the world, for a few examples.  but this open communication can be a rather risky operation, especially when you nor anyone else has total control over time, the cosmos, space, other people, and all those things that constitute us and the world we individually and collectively navigate.

who among us, for a more quotidian but pervasive example, does not feel anxiety today?  emerging ecological crises w/ the momentum of hundreds of years of capitalist economic activity releasing CO2 into the air, the continuing austerity and uncertainty of the future produced by neoliberalism (“the god that failed”) and the global financial crisis of last decade, their consequent spawning of a cohort of new fascisms springing up with Trump et al., severe political crisis and instability globally, and horrifying violence signaling both swaths of people (e.g. ISIS) and individuals (e.g. the Orlando shooter; the knife attack in Sagamihara, Japan; etc.)…i’m sure there’s plenty that could be added, things that i’m missing, but i think we have the general picture forming before us.  i’d be surprised if it didn’t–it’s nothing new.  “business-as-usual.”


there’s plenty, in short, of reasons for anxiety today.  a general sense of insecurity, of precarity, regarding the present and future conditions of existence for oneself, loved ones, and the rest of those less proximate individuals involved in this experiment called “civilization.”  it is very easy to deduce or incur the debilitating sense that “the future has been cancelled,” and that the present isn’t worth living.  it is this precarity that binds us, an affect or comportment that we all share to differing extents.  we are all precarious about our existences today in an era of ecological, economic, political, and social crises: “ontological precarity.”


the dank meme attests

this ontological precarity is, i want to claim, one way of understanding the nihilism that we at SZ would like to position ourselves as “post-” to.  nihilism as premised upon precarity…upon scarcity.  a real scarcity just as much as an organized and engineered scarcity:

“terminal resource depletion, especially in water and energy reserves, offers the prospect of mass starvation, collapsing economic paradigms, and new hot and cold wars.  continued financial crisis has led governments to embrace the paralyzing death spiral policies of austerity, privatisation of social welfare services, mass unemployment, and stagnating wages.” (Srnicek + Williams, Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics)

The challenge, then, for any praxis with the ambition to be “post-nihil(ist)” lies in part with taking up the problem of scarcity as both real and as in need of “overcoming” ethically and politically, individually and collectively.  in today’s climate (see above), this bears the ring of a heresy, something which our situation’s closing horizons today permit no “belief” for.  and yet, that seems to be precisely what any progressive political project worth its salt requires today, a belief that we are indeed not at “the end of history” (is there an uglier phrase, one dripping more with venomous inhibition?)…but not a belief for its own sake.  instead, a “belief” that un-rivets us from our learned helplessness writ large.  an opening up of a future that could motivate its own construction, like a time-loop of positive feedback.  an un-riveting that enables alternative ways of thinking and acting than those over-coded by the logic of scarcity.

one that lets us interact with each other on kinder terms, in more humane and error-tolerant ways striving to reject the primacy of counter-productive aggressive behaviors and the defensive complexes they arise from.  less “homo homini lupus / man is a wolf to man” (hobbes) and more “hominem homini Deus esse / man is a god to man” (spinoza).  not as if precarity and scarcity do not exist, but b/c none of us have scarcity as an “idea of the good” that would sustain us throughout our lives.  i mean, yes, we come to “desire servitude as if it were our freedom,” (spinoza) but if we could somehow be given the option “deep down” between scarcity and “post-scarcity,” we would pick the option that involved less fear, less screaming, less explosions, less self-destructive death drives, less exhaustion, and more good encounters with other people, more of a sense of agency, more control over living lives that we actually enjoy, more space for care ethics and enjoying vulnerability, more free time to use as we see fit.  in other words, we would opt for the post-scarcity and its less disabling, more enabling conditions for human freedom.  (the more universal we define these as, the more people can envision themselves as a part of such a project)

this un-riveting, both practiced and desired, also modifies our space and vision of possibilities.  if one thinks that there is no future remaining, or finds the present endlessly horrifying, then it becomes more difficult to think of ethico-political activity that would not only not be futile, but worth the effort.  why work towards a future that isn’t going to be there?  it’s hard to motivate one’s desire for post-scarcity anything if it’s disavowed as a fact of life, left to rot without any experience of post-scarcity to suggest and impel otherwise.  in so far as drugs, for example, can be found in these moments of spinning in the void, they appear friendly precisely b/c of the way that they satisfy that need of ours to feel that something else is possible, even if only for a fleeting time.  however, if one can experience post-scarcity, or understand it as a good-in-itself given its effects for us, then there is a perceptual opening up of the future-horizon allowing one to project such post-scarcity into the future as a good that is on the table again.  this in turn propels behavior, organizational planning, and thinking that can take such post-scarcity as an (complex) object to be materialized through individual and collective effort.  now, as always, political (and ethical too, for that matter) success for such a demanding project is not guaranteed beforehand, and this one is no different.  but to respond to today’s problems and crises, nothing less will do for any humanism with universalist ambitions.

if the philosopher nick land got anything right, it is the recognition of the force of our desire for libidinal dis-inhibition.  such dis-inhibition is incredibly effective as a motivator, something that we desire in so far as we can be freed from something oppressive towards the hope of something else better than what is currently given (whether situational present or anticipated future).  an interlinking of a dynamic between negative freedom (“freedom from”) and positive freedom (“freedom to”).  freedom fromthe limits and violence and fear of scarcity, and freedom to the ease and abundance and flourishing of post-scarcity.  (an aside: critique does an excellent job of the former, but can’t quite do the job of the latter as, say invention can.)  it is both, but especially the latter, that progressive, universalist humanist projects today need to become better at formulating.

take back control.”  “make america great again.”

inscribed in both of these cynical injunctives are both kinds of freedom.  there are insinuations that control has been lost, or that america is not / no longer great.  these are the perceived inhibited conditions that boris johnson and donald trump target for their discontent, for their fear, for what people desire deliverance from.  but there are also glimmers of promised effects tucked away as well in these slogans.  one can enjoy agency again, one can have one’s voice heard and participate in and directly affect the collective and the nation.  one can not only be delivered from scarcity, but also delivered towards what scarcity inhibits, to the post-scarcity goods of a sense of agency over one’s life (rather than subjected to vicissitudes) and lending one’s agency for the desirable-in-itself project of greater collective freedom.  the broad brushstrokes of these slogans can be ambiguous as to what specific policies are put forward, but it is clear that they are utilizing not only mechanisms of negative freedom–about anyone today has a list of things they’d like to be free from!–but also positively articulating the intrinsic good of a sense of agency related to augmenting individual and collective autonomy / freedom.

has *anyone* ever given you that woman’s look before? have you inspired that in another person?

trump’s supporters enjoy him perhaps not so much b/c they think his policies can really be carried out, but b/c he offers what bernie sanders offers and what neither hillary nor any of the republican candidates offer/ed: a “collective hallucination” or collective fantasy that they are indeed part of the formation of alternatives in a time when america is certainly not “great.”  the feeling of moving somewhere and enjoying the wind under one’s feet, whether at one of their rallies or even extending to the internet phenomenon of bernie sanders’ dank meme stash (deserving an analysis all on its own) and its own surprising success at creating a culture of support not enjoyed by any of the other candidates.

it’s not about picking one  kind of freedom over the other, but recognizing the necessity to mobilize both for ethico-political projects of post-scarcity.  the popularity of the leftist-tending phenomena of bernie sanders and jeremy corbyn, in the same countries, speaks to not only their ability to articulate the problems to be delivered from, but also what goods conducive to humanist agency that could be concretely moved towards (e.g. free college, re-nationalize social institutions like the NHS)…effectively implying that not only can there indeed can be a future, but it can be a desirable one that doesn’t have to be “scarcity-business-as-usual.”


“and in that moment i swear we were infinite”

this is also the draw of the (in)famous #FullyAutomatedLuxuryCommunism (#FALC…can that make us #FALCons???  god, plz, yes).  rather than restrict progressive desire to critique alone, some cheeky marxists wanted to play around with the idea that, “so, yeah, shouldn’t we all have all the luxury items we want and just have a blast together?”  re-purposing the capitalist desires we all develop or incur simply by living inside capitalist society, #FALC gestures towards a program of libidinal engineering meant to siphon this capitalist desire towards the support of leftist political approaches.  (memes are great for this, btw)


come on people, even those in the early 60s knew that #FALC was the way to go!

if projects of the emancipatory / progressive / leftist / humanist variety leave the articulation and demonstration of the plausibility of post-scarcity to the neo-fascists, the alt-right, the conservatives, chauvinists, and traditionalists, then we should not be surprised that people will be more likely to vote for the latter.  and doubtless, the right’s visions of post-scarcity will not be universalist in their ambition, meaning post-scarcity for some, scarcity-as-usual for those excluded from whatever they define their in-group as.  no doubt that real constrictions resulting from scarcity exist:–but so do tendencies angling at post-scarcity, like robotic automation of labor, renewable energy sources, and universal basic income (UBI), that need to be elaborated as existing and plausible.  “objects” for positive projects that can motivate their own materialization, which is perhaps one way to differentiate (-) and (+) freedoms in the face of some of their shared features.

so in short, the “post-” of post-scarcity needs to imply both the “negative” relation of departure from scarcity, and the temporal sense of articulating a future that isn’t premised upon scarcity alone to mark its desirability:–“i’m sorry, [gender neutral title for robot elementary teachers] X87B9, but are you saying that past humans actually worked for more than 10 hours each week?  would even die from not having enough food?” ***horrified***.


__/ post-nihilist praxis \__

Below Sam Harris outlines and then discusses with Richard Dawkins his argument against Hume’s erroneous (IMO) notion that we cannot derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ – what philosopher’s call the “naturalistic fallacy” or “Hume’s Guillotine”.

Hume discusses the problem in book III, part I, section I of his book, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739):

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.[1]

Hume asks, given knowledge of the way the universe is, in what sense can we say it ought to be different? Hume calls for caution against such inferences in the absence of any explanation of how the ought-statements follow from the is-statements.

This discussion was filmed at The Sheldonian Theatre, University of Oxford on April 12, 2011 and was titled, “Who Says Science has Nothing to Say About Morality?”

so this is my first post as one of SZ’s contributors–now that i’m done with my MA program and thesis, i hope to be able to do many more of these!  the link below shows the PDF version of my MA submitted last friday, “alien alliances: becoming-subject in spinoza’s ethics”

metaphysical inhumanism and alien constitution (or: chapter 1)

the first chapter deals with my development of an implicit metaphysical inhumanism in spinoza’s ethics and what that means for the individuation or constitution of individuals-aliens-modes-systems

immunological ethics (or: ch 2)

the second deals with the immunological ethics responding to this general inhumanism, specifically from the “human” perspective

immunology of the commons and prometheanism (or: ch 3)

the third deals with how this immunology spreads to the commons to extend the range of processual freedom for humans, and how this translates into a promethean political project (also: iconoclasm + immunography)

i’d love to hear comments, critiques, challenges, and all other sorts of things–i finished this one rather last minute, and am sure many spinozists, naturalists, marxists, accelerationists/xenofeminists/neo-rationalists, etc. could help me strengthen it…esp for the last part, and how this could lend itself towards conceptualizing agency in posthuman times, or anything dealing with its concrete application, as “post-nihil praxis”… or anything else, really.


-felix navarrete, kingston uni crmep



This thesis concerns the problem of a human agency facing the dissolution of “the human” resulting from the sciences and hegemonic neoliberalism, as well as the perils of ecological crisis for the human species. Following Spinoza’s insistence that the human results from a process of development, we find the human has always been alien to us at the same time that we have always been subject to its composition. Spinoza exploits this production to shift the problem of what the human is away from any pre-given foundation or pre-determined goal, and towards how its open identity can better enhance ethico-political projects of freedom. To effectuate this transition, this thesis begins exploring the implicit inhumanism of Spinoza’s Ethics revealing the unexceptional, precarious status of the human within reality. Humans lack unconditioned freedom or transcendence, and submit to the necessity of God’s activity that produces all that is without purpose or will. This activity constitutes humans as inhuman aliens through myriad causal relations with each other that actuate their continual transformations. We explore how humans ethically respond to these situations without any intrinsic identity or pre-determined ends to guide them. The characteristics of immune systems reveal an immunological ethics, consistent with inhumanism, which reformulates freedom for third person reflexive pronouns. Certain encounters with other natures prove to beget greater agency for the human, enabling it to realize its true advantage as the adequate cause of itself. Active humans seek to empower others and to join for greater true advantage, forming collectives that rationally act for maximal collective human freedom. Prometheans’ collective agency more capably faces contemporary challenges.

Assemblages Felix Guattari and Machinic Animism

Agenciamentos: Félix Guattari e o Animismo Maquínico (2012) English subtitles Via Ian Buchanan

Agencements [or assemblages, because there is no better English translation]

Published on 15 Jun 2015

Projeto de pesquisa audiovisual de Angela Melitopoulos e Maurizio Lazzarato, “Agenciamentos” faz um passeio esquizofrênico pelas novas formulações propostas por Félix Guattari para se pensar os sujeitos, as sociedades e as subjetividades. Dividido em quatro partes, o projeto traz imagens raras de Félix Guattari na famosa clínica de La Borde (local de experimento polifônico da prática da esquizoanálise), além de trechos de filmes, entrevistas e imagens de diversos tipos de sujeitos: árvores, rios, pedras, um mendigo no centro da cidade etc, – nada escapa ao olhar sensível e articulador de agenciamentos de Melitopoulos e Lazzarato. “Agenciamentos” é um convite à filosofia subversiva e transformadora nas costuras erráticas das linhas de fuga criadoras.

Projeto de pesquisa audio-visual dividido em quatro partes: 1. Animismo e psicose 2. Além dos sujeitos ocidentais 3. O direito à loucura ou “A clínica de La Borde” 4. Animismo e resistência. Concebido originalmente como um vídeo-instalação, “Agenciamentos” foi exibido duante a Taipei Biennial e no museu MACBA, Barcelona. SOBRE: Gênero: Projeto de Pesquisa Audiovisual Diretor: Angela Melitopoulos; Maurizio Lazzarato Duração: 69 minutos Ano de Lançamento: 2011 País de Origem: Sem informações Idioma do Áudio: Francês / Português Site Oficial:…i-and-machinic-

  • Music

    • “Chants d’Auvergne: II. Bailero” by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, English Chamber Orchestra & Jeffrey Tate (iTunes)


The world is facing its worst refugee crisis since World War II [JURIST report].

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website] on Thursday warned [UN Report] of the record high number of refugees around the world as a result of increasing global conflicts. According to data collected by the UNHCR in 2014 the number of refugees grew from roughly 51 million in 2013 to 60 million in 2014. The data suggests that 1 in every 122 persons is displaced throughout the world. In a press release [press release] earlier in the week UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres stated “It is terrifying that on the one hand there is more and more impunity for those starting conflicts, and on the other there is seeming utter inability of the international community to work together to stop wars and build and preserve peace.” The report also details that over half the worlds refugees are children. Mr. Guterres also stated “with huge shortages of funding and wide gaps in the global regime for protecting victims of war, people in need of compassion, aid and refuge are being abandoned.” Guterres stated that this global crisis calls fro a larger humanitarian response and tolerance and protection for the individuals in these situations.


  • Should the peoples leave the problem of the increase in refugees and the suffering of people due to inter alia economic factors and war in the hands of international law mediated through the United Nations (and world leaders)?
  • Should the peoples take action by themselves?
  • Are we left in worlds where the only solution for the peoples is to take up arms? 
  • Is this an ‘idealistic social experiment’ as labelled by the BBC or is this an event where the peoples are taking action to improve and secure their own material well-being and survival? 
  • How do we talk about this?


via BBC Our World
Published on 14 Nov 2014

Is the Middle East’s newest country a territory called “Rojava”? Out of the chaos of Syria’s civil war, mainly Kurdish leftists have forged an egalitarian, multi-ethnic mini-state run on communal lines. But with ISIS Jihadists attacking them at every opportunity — especially around the beleaguered city of Kobane, how long can this idealistic social experiment last? From the frontlines to the refugee camps, Mehran Bozorgnia filmed in Rojava for the BBC’s Our World and has gained exclusive access and a revealing snapshot of Syria’s secret revolution.

Rojava: A Sincere Revolution

via BraveTheWorld shared by Anarchists in Support of Rojava-Kurdistan آنارشیستهای مدافع کوبانی :

Published on 2 Jun 2015

Also see


Typical of western media’s myopia, instead of considering the implications of women taking up arms in what is essentially a patriarchal society – especially against a group that rapes and sells women as sex-slaves – even fashion magazines appropriate the struggle of Kurdish women for their own sensationalist purposes. Reporters often pick the most “attractive” fighters for interviews and exoticise them as “badass” Amazons.

read more here

WILD ECOLOGIES - Featured Post #3: Edmund Berger with an in-depth 
analysis of Guattari's 'ecosophy' and possible points of connection, 
overlap and divergence from anarchist thought.  


How does one begin to broach the question of linkage, passage, and reflexivity to be found in the theories and practices of anarchism, the radical post-psychoanalysis of Felix Guattari, and the ontological framework that has been ushered in the necessity of acknowledging the forces that we label “the Anthropocene”? The overlaps between each are undeniable: in was ecological concerns that late in his life Guattari turned his mind to; the field that his work is commonly situated – the school of post-structuralism – is often affiliated with anarchism of the so-called “post-left” variety. That Guattari was closely aligned with the Italian Autonomia, which the post-left anarchists owe much of their discourse to, is no passing coincidence. We can also note the presence of “green anarchism” under the post-left label, alongside the controversial, anti-civilizational stance espoused by anarcho-primitivism. Yet we can see clearly that this triad of eco-ontology, Guattari, and anarchism have yet to really have the dialogue that they deserve.

On even a surface level reading the commonalities between each point is immediately clear: none points to a resolving synthesis in thought or being. The Anthropocene has brought us full circle and pried open what was also present but shunted aside by the progress of the West – that civilization and nature are not separate, and that civilization and culture exist entangled in the complex web of the ecology itself, defined as it is by various states of emergence. Anarchism, regardless of which of the many monikers it adapts, is at its core a program that is constantly evading and contesting the centralizing and homogenizing forms of the state itself. Guattari, meanwhile, shifts these focuses to the levels of individuals and group’s subjecthood, looking to move from fixed and stable states to ones far from equilibrium. Keeping in tune with the manner in which each point in this triad presents itself as an ongoing unfolding, this essay will attempt no resolute synthesis. I am more concerned in this moment with simply tracing out a constellation of convergences and patterns, looking for possibilities of a minor politics for the Anthropocene.

Read More

The Visible and the Invisible, by Maurice Merleau-Ponty

 The Visible and the Invisible (1964) contains the unfinished manuscript and working notes of the book Merleau-Ponty was writing when he died. The text is devoted to a critical examination of Kantian, Husserlian, Bergsonian, and Sartrean method, followed by the extraordinary “The Intertwining–The Chiasm,” that reveals the central pattern of Merleau-Ponty’s own thought. The working notes for the book provide the reader with a truly exciting insight into the mind of the philosopher at work as he refines and develops new pivotal concepts.

 read the entire book: HERE

[m]: Ontology has been dominated since Descartes by the subject-object dichotomy (res cogitans and res extensa) and despite many valiant attempts has been completely incapable of twisting free of this schema. This gives rise to a whole host of philosophical and infrastructural problems. Here M-P generates significant insights and philosophical advances for the praxis of ontography – not the least of which is his insistence of “the priority of being over thought.” These working notes are invaluable to the student of phenomenology and philosophies of life/death.


A description by Taylor Carman (Columbia University):

Merleau-Ponty spent the years just prior to his death in 1961 extending, rethinking, and in some cases revising ideas that had been at the center of his philosophical work since the 1930s. Early and late, he always tried to break down traditional dualisms, above all those of sensibility and understanding, activity and passivity, inner and outer, mind and body.

Merleau-Ponty’s final, unfinished work, The Visible and the Invisible, carries that reconciling project to new depths, and indeed new extremes, to include the past and the present, and the body and its surrounding environment. In a famously self-critical note from 1959, he confesses, “The problems posed in Ph.P. [Phenomenology of Perception] are insoluble because I start there from the ‘consciousness’-‘object’ distinction.” In the last phase of his thinking he therefore strives ever more resolutely to free himself from the received view of intentionality as subjectivity standing over against and external to objects radically heterogeneous with it, and as occupying a specious present sharply distinct from past and future moments in a linear temporality. Body and world, like past and present, he now insists, are “interwoven” in such a way that seemingly neat conceptual distinctions between them are bound to distort and misrepresent the phenomena as we actually live and understand them in preconceptual, prereflective, prearticulate ways.

Grasping the essential ambiguity of the phenomena moreover demands that we forsake the rigorous aspirations of traditional metaphysics and epistemology in favor of what Merleau-Ponty calls the “nonphilosophy” of post-Hegelian thinkers like Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. The grand aspirations of systematic philosophers such as Kant and Hegel, that is, must give way to a new kind of concrete, descriptive, perhaps merely evocative inquiry situated essentially if uneasily between the empirical and the transcendental, or in Heideggerian terms, the ontic and the ontological. Such a conception of philosophy and its object runs a considerable risk of obscurity, not to say obscurantism, and indeed Merleau-Ponty’s late notes often seem to tread a fine line between depth and emptiness. Recurring images of “chiasm” and the “intertwining” of body and world, and of past and present, work powerfully as metaphors, but they also cry out for some lucid, demystifying philosophical interpretation.



  •  “For us the essential is to know precisely what the being of the world means. To correlative idea of a being of representation, of a being for the consciousness, of a being for man: these, along with the being of the world, are all notions that we have to rethink with regard to our experience of the world. We have to reformulate the skeptical arguments outside of every ontological preconception and reformulate them precisely so as to know what world-being, thing-being, imaginary being, and conscious being are.” (Pg. 6-7)\
  • “No doubt, it is not entirely my body that perceives. I know only that it can prevent me from perceiving, that I cannot perceive without its permission; the moment perception comes my body effaces itself before it and never does the perception grasp the body in the act of perceiving.” (Pg. 9)
  • “Our purpose is not to oppose to the facts objective science coordinates a group of facts that ‘escapes’ it—whether one calls them ‘psychism’ or ‘subjective facts’ or ‘interior facts’—but to show that the being-object and the being-subject conceived by opposition to it and relative to it do not form the alternative, that the perceived world is beneath or beyond their antinomy, that the failure of ‘objective’ psychology is… to be understood not as a victory of the ‘interior’ over the ‘exterior’ and of the ‘mental’ over the ‘material,’ but as a call for the revision of our ontology, for the re-examinations of the notions of ‘subject’ and object.’” (Pg. 22-23)
  • “Because perception gives us faith in a world, in a system of natural facts rigorously bound together and continuous, we have believed that this system could incorporate all things into itself, even the perception that has initiated us into it. Today we no longer believe nature to be a continuous system of this kind; a fortiori we are far removed from thinking that the islets of ‘psychism’ that here and there float over it are secretly connected to one another through the continuous ground of nature. We have then imposed upon us the task of understanding whether, and in what sense, what is not nature forms a ‘world,’ and first what a ‘world’ is, and finally, if world there is, what can be the relations between the visible world and the invisible world.” (Pg. 26-27)
  • “Philosophy believed that it could overcome the contradictions of the perceptual faith by suspending it in order to disclose the motives that support it… The procedure of reflection, as an appeal to ‘the interior,’ retreats back from the world, consigns the faith in the world to rank of things says, or ‘statements.’ But then we have the feeling that this ‘explication’ is a transformation without reconversion, that it rests upon itself, on the perceptual faith whose tenor it claims to give us and whose measure it claims to be: it is because first I believe in the world and in the things that I believe in the order and the connection of my thoughts. We are therefore led to seek, beneath the reflection itself, and as it were in front of the philosopher who reflects, the reasons for belief which he seeks within himself, in his thoughts, on the hither side of the world.” (Pg. 50-51)
  • “The famous ontological problem, the ‘why is there something rather than nothing’ disappears along with the alternative: there is not something RATHER THAN NOTHING, the nothing could not TAKE THE PLACE of something or of being: nothingness inexists…and being is, and the exact adjusting of the one upon the other no longer leaves room for a question. Everything is obscure when one has not thought out the negative. For then what is called negation and what is called position appear as accomplices and even in a sort of equivalence… But one also understands that, seen from high enough, the amplitude of being will never exceed that to nothingness, nor the noise of the world in silence.” (Pg. 64)
  • “we have come not only to rehabilitate negative thought as an original way of thinking, but also to formulate negatively… the principle of causality, and finally to conceive as negativity thought, which for Spinoza was the positive itself. Should it now be necessary to complete or rather to go beyond this reversal by saying that I am not capable of being for myself unless, at the center of myself, I am nothing at all, but that this central void must be borne by being, by a situation, a world, is never knowable except as the focus their perspectives indicate, and that is in this sense there is a priority of being over thought.” (Pg. 98)
  • “The philosopher’s manner of questioning is therefore not that of cognition: being and the world are not for the philosopher unknowns such as are to be determined through their relation with known terms, where both known and unknown terms belong in advance to the same order of variables which an active thought seems to approximate as closely as possible. Nor is philosophy an awakening of conscience… It is that universe that philosophy aims at, that is, as we say, the object of philosophy—but here never will the lacuna be filled in, the unknown transformed into the known; the ‘object’ of philosophy will never come to fill in the philosophical question, since this obturation would take from it the depth and the distance that are essential to it. The effective, present, ultimate and primary being, the thing itself, are in principle apprehended in transparency through their perspectives…” (Pg. 101)
  • “Philosophy is the perceptual faith questioning itself about itself. One can say of it, as of every faith, that it is a faith BECAUSE it is the possibility of doubt, and this indefatigable ranging over the things, which is our life, is also a continuous interrogation. It is not only philosophy, it is first the look that questions the things.” (Pg. 103)
  • “It is this Visibility, this generality of the Sensible in itself, this anonymity innate to Myself that we have previously called flesh, and one knows there is no name in traditional philosophy to designate it. The flesh is not matter, in the sense of corpuscles of being which would add up to or continue on one another to form beings. Nor is the visible … some ‘psychic’ material that would be… brought into being by the things factually existing and acting on my factual body. In general, it is not a fact of a sum of facts ‘material’ or ‘spiritual.’” (Pg. 139)
  • “Philosophy is itself only if it refuses for itself the facilities of a world with one sole entry as well as the facilities of a world with multiple entries, all accessible to the philosopher. Like the natural man, it abides at the point where the passage from the self into the world and into the other is effected, at the crossing of the avenues.” (Pg. 160)